Believe it or not, there's more to be discussed regarding the upcoming MLB Draft as we wind down to one day until the White Sox make their selection at No. 3 overall.
One of the issues that has been brought up countless times regarding the prospects the White Sox will be picking between Thursday night is their status and the team's history of shying away from certain players for one reason or another.
The Top 3 players on most draft boards are a pair of high school pitchers, Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, and a college arm represented by Scott Boras, Carlos Rodon.
In the past, the White Sox have notoriously stayed away from all three of those types of players — prep arms and Boras clients. Because of this, some have speculated they might throw the draft for a loop by passing on one of the aforementioned three for a non-Boras college arm such as Aaron Nola or a bat such as Nick Gordon. In the past, however, the White Sox weren't picking as highly as No. 3 overall.
Most of what you hear out of general managers and scouting directors leading up to the draft is white noise Nobody's going to tip their hand. However, the issue with the top three players was brought up to former White Sox general manager and current team vice president Kenny Williams in an article by MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
"His agent is his agent. We can't be concerned with that," said Williams of potential picks at No. 3. "We are going to take the best player or pitcher there when he gets to us, when our pick comes up."
Talk is talk, of course, and one wouldn't expect Williams to say anything other than that. But when push comes to shove, it's owner Jerry Reinsdorf who has had the biggest issue dealing with Boras and it's unclear whether his unwillingness in the past will play a role in selecting Rodon, or even prep catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson, another top prospect represented by Boras.
One reason for optimism that the White Sox will truly shed themselves of recent trends and take the best player available regardless of agent or status is the money involved. Per Merkin's article, the White Sox have a little more than $9.5 million to spend on the draft, including $5.7 million allotted to the No. 3 pick. That total is the third highest in baseball this year, and general manager Rick Hahn told Merkin that money will be integral to having a successful draft.
"We're positioned to have a very robust Draft," Hahn said. "We've allocated the largest pool in franchise history and we have the ability to not only get at least the third-best player in the country, but each round pick toward the top and get even better players throughout the first couple days. We're excited for it.
"We hope we're not in the position for it in the near future, but for now it will be a nice step forward for our system. It's an injection of young talent that's going to continue this process we started two years back."
One caveat on the money is the wiggle room the Sox will want to have when negotiating with whomever they take at No. 3. Rodon, particularly, has quite a bit of negotiating leverage in that he still has another year of college eligibility so could ask for more money and threaten to return to school if the team that drafts him doesn't give him the money he's looking for — as Mark Appel did two years ago when he slid from a projected No. 1 overall pick to No. 7. Boras, for what it's worth, also represented him.
With $5.7 million allocated to for the No. 3 pick, the White Sox would likely have to use all or most of it in order to sign Rodon were he their selection. It's entirely possible that Hahn would choose to go the cheaper route in order to stockpile cash to sign players above slot in later rounds, but again, he makes it sound like the money will allow them to go the "best player available" route in each round, including at No. 3.
We'll find out Thursday night if Hahn goes bargain shopping or if he's almost quite literally ready to put Jerry's money where his mouth is.
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